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Monks Siding Signal Box

A Grade II Listed Building in Great Sankey South, Warrington

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Latitude: 53.3847 / 53°23'4"N

Longitude: -2.6151 / 2°36'54"W

OS Eastings: 359183

OS Northings: 387712

OS Grid: SJ591877

Mapcode National: GBR BY59.MD

Mapcode Global: WH98Q.S6W2

Entry Name: Monks Siding Signal Box

Listing Date: 21 November 2013

Grade: II

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1412064

Location: Warrington, WA5

County: Warrington

Electoral Ward/Division: Great Sankey South

Parish: Non Civil Parish

Traditional County: Lancashire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Cheshire

Church of England Parish: Warrington St Barnabas

Church of England Diocese: Liverpool

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Signal box built 1875 retaining its original lever frame, London and North Western Railway Type 3 design of 1874.


Railway signal box, 1875, by and for the London and North Western Railway, Type 3 design of 1874.

MATERIALS: brick base laid in English Bond, with timber upper floor with horizontal weatherboarding; uPVC windows; Welsh slate roof finished with grey hip and ridge tiles.

EXTERIOR: the signal box is of two storeys and two bays with a hipped roof. The operating room is continuously glazed to the front (north-west) and sides, with a single window to the rear overlooking the approach to the adjacent level crossing. The replacement windows do not follow the same glazing pattern as the originals. The entrance to the operating floor is now in the south-western end accessed via an external flight of steel steps. The original position of the door in the north-eastern end is marked by a change in weatherboarding and a window with a raised sill. The door to the locking room is below, in its original position. This has a segmental arched head of brick headers. The two locking room windows overlooking the tracks have similar arched heads and also retain timber joinery with 4-pane fixed lights.

INTERIOR: the signal box retains its original 20-lever London and North Western Railway Tumbler frame.


From the 1840s, huts or cabins were provided for men operating railway signals. These were often located on raised platforms containing levers to operate the signals and in the early 1860s, the fully glazed signal box, initially raised high on stilts to give a good view down the line, emerged. The interlocking of signals and points, perhaps the most important single advance in rail safety, patented by John Saxby in 1856, was the final step in the evolution of railway signalling into a form recognisable today. Signal boxes were built to a great variety of different designs and sizes to meet traffic needs by signalling contractors and the railway companies themselves.

Signal box numbers peaked at around 12,000-13,000 for Great Britain just prior to the First World War and successive economies in working led to large reductions in their numbers from the 1920s onwards. British Railways inherited around 10,000 in 1948 and numbers dwindled rapidly to about 4000 by 1970. In 2012, about 750 remained in use; it was anticipated that most would be rendered redundant over the next decade.

The London and North Western Railway initially employed the signalling contractors Saxby and Farmer for signalling equipment including signal boxes. From 1874, provision of new signalling was taken in-house using the company's main engineering works at Crewe. The first design (now known as the LNWR Type 3) was quickly superseded by the Type 4 by 1876. The principal difference between the designs was that the Type 3 had a hipped roof rather than a gabled roof. Monks Crossing Signal Box was built in 1875 and still retains its original 20-lever LNWR Tumbler frame. Monks Siding was originally a passenger line, but was reduced to goods only in circa 1970. In 1976 the adjacent level crossing was widened, with the operating room entrance (with steps) being moved to the opposite end of the signal box. The signal box was re-windowed in 2003 and was re-signalled in 2012 (but with the lever frame retained).

Reasons for Listing

Monks Siding Signal Box is listed at Grade II for the following principal reasons:
* Representative: as a good example of the London and North Western Railway first in-house designed standardised signal box, the LNWR Type 3;
* Interior: for the retention of the original lever frame dating to 1875

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